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Apr
2024
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Al Roker to Host Chicago International Film Festival 60th Anniversary Soireé June 1

Legendary newsman Al Roker is set to host Cinema/Chicago’s 60th Anniversary Cinema Soirée, it was announced today. The event, which celebrates the diamond anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival and its incredible history and impact on Chicago’s culture of film, will be held Saturday, June 1, 2024, at the Geraghty, located at 2520 S. Hoyne Ave. Limited tickets are available at www.chicagofilmfestival.com

The annual event raises funds for year-round programming, including the Chicago International Film Festival, the longest-running competitive festival in North America celebrating its 60th edition October 16 – 27, 2024; CineYouth, which showcases the work of filmmakers age 22 and younger; the Chicago Industry Exchange Lab (CIX:Lab), a year-long feature film development lab for Illinois filmmakers with a focus on BIPOC, women, and non-binary filmmakers; Industry Days, the annual conference that serves as a hub for filmmakers and industry professionals; the Community Cinema program, which presents free film screenings in neighborhoods including Englewood and Pilsen; and the 20th annual Summer Screenings program, this year presenting work from women filmmakers from 19 countries around the world who have had their films screened at the Chicago International Film Festival.

“Cinema/Chicago has spent the last 60 years bringing innovative year-round programming to the people of Chicago, and helped cement Chicago as a destination for filmmakers and film lovers alike,” said Al Roker. “The 60th Anniversary Cinema Soirée celebrates an incredible history, from Bette Davis, Martin Scorcese, and François Truffaut, to Emerald Fennell, and offers a glimpse of what cinema will present to the world in the next 60 years to come. Grab your popcorn, who knows what’s going to happen!” 

“Our legacy as the longest-running competitive film festival in North America would not be possible without the support of countless private and public partnerships throughout the years,” said Vivian Teng, Managing Director of Cinema/Chicago. “That support has cemented Chicago as a cultural hub for cinematic excellence, and grown our community of filmmakers and cinephiles. Now, more than ever, that investment needs to continue as a resource for Chicago and its more than 50 film festivals already in operation here.”

“Through our year-round programming, Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival proudly and purposefully bring storytelling from around the world to audiences here at home,” said Cinema/Chicago Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. “This year’s Cinema Soirée is an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments while building for our next 60 years.”

The 60th Anniversary Cinema Soirée Committee is chaired by Brenda Robinson and includes Chaz EbertSonia EvansJason Delane Lee and Yvonne Huff Lee, and Gigi Pritzker and Cinema/Chicago Board members Charles Droege (Board Chair), Lee Blackwell BaurJacolyn BucksbaumPhilip ClementJon Harris, and Bill Melamed.

“There has never been a more crucial time to celebrate and support cinema in Chicago,” said Cinema Soirée Chair Brenda Robinson, executive producer of films including Rebecca Hall’s PASSING and the Rev. Al Sharpton documentary LOUDMOUTH. “Cinema/Chicago represents the best Chicago has to offer, an iconic institution serving a vibrant, robust film community. And indeed, Cinema/Chicago and its programming brings the best world cinema has to offer to our communities, year-round.”

The 60th Anniversary Cinema Soirée will feature a look back at the films and filmmakers who have graced Chicago International Film Festival red carpets and events over six decades of programming. More special guests and highlights will be announced in the coming month; for more information, visit Cinema/Chicago’s website at https://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/.

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